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    Looking to buy a new gps chartplotter-gctid807117

    Hey guys, this is going to sound stupid but I'm looking to buy a new chartplotter and I'd really like it to be more like a cars gps where as it would highlight the best route for me. Where I'm at the channels are very confusing. There's so many buoys it's difficult to be sure I'm in the channel a lot of the time. The chartplotter I have now is ten years old and while it's serviceable, it leaves much to be desired. Do the newer plotters all have this feature ? I'd spend some extra cash to have it so if it's an extra bell and whistle that's fine. We pretty much cruise around and hit up restaurants and do some fishing too so a sonar/fish finder is also something I'm looking for.

    #2
    Go to the garmin or other major brands and research the different versions, I found that the newer systems have much better vidio defenition.

    Also a wider assortment of transducers. It is not always the size of the screen that makes the difference in what u ou see below.

    Do your homework and look at several s ites and pick one that meets your needs, usually depth and fish in color.

    Good luck, other members may have some suggestions.
    Pat says: DO-IT-RIGHT THE FIRST TIME!

    Bayliner 3870 "ALASKA33)
    Twin 350 GM power
    Located in Seward, AK
    Retired marine surveyor

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      #3
      I've been doing exactly that but nobody goes too far into the actual chartplotting features. I'm even watching YouTube videos on different models and still no info. I'll keep digging.

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        #4
        You will not find a marine chart plotter that works like an automotive gps. It is up to the captain of the vessel to plot his route carefully and store it in the chart plotters memory. Only you can plan safe passage for your boat and crew given the ever changing conditions. And yes this is different for each major brand and will be difficult to really get a feel for unless you can use one powered up to have a try. I would suggest finding someone with a unit your interested in, I bet they will tell you all about and maybe even let you try a few things out.
        1990 3888 Bayliner, Twin 351's

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          #5
          I've been a Garmin user for both automobile GPS and marine GPS chartplotter for quite a few years, so I can tell you a little about the Garmin's.

          There's a feature for most Garmin's (all except the base budget models) called "auto-guidance" (which is what I think you're asking for when you say "works like a car GPS"...you tell it where you want to go and it plots it's best guess route for you...right?). Regardless of the chartplotter model, you have to buy the Garmin G2 BlueChart Vision SD card to get auto-guidance (and of course, have a model with the G2 Bluecharts for coastal waters). I've only used coastal water versions (GPSMap 441s and EchoMap 94sv...I'm sure I'll eventually end up with a GPSMap 942 or 941 since they have a radar input, EchoMap 94sv does not). All the ones I've mentioned have G2 Bluecharts pre-loaded (the coastal charts) and allow you to plug in a G2 Vision SD card...once you do that, auto-guidance (usually "Guide to" on a menu) will show up. (The Garmin marine GPS chartplotters of the same size are named by whether they have coastal charts or lake charts...nowadays, some have both. I think there's a LakeVue card or something like that which will do auto-guidance for major lakes...the G2 Vision card is for coastal waters...the Garmin "4" chartplottes are usually coastal...GPSMap 441s, 541s/741/941/942, and EchoMap 74 and 94...etc. Other model numbers of the same size have different pre-loaded charts.)

          There are two versions of the auto-guidance software...the old version (software on the GPSMap 441s, version 1) will allows you to seach on a name or enter a latitude & longitude, then when you select "Guide to", it will construct it's best-guess route. If you don't like that route (for instance, it takes you off-shore and you didn't want to go off-shore), then all you can do is pick a closer destination and "Guide to" that, then repeat until you eventually get there. Version 2 of the software (on the EchoMap 94sv and GPSMap 942, for instance) allow you to do the same thing, but then you can add a waypoint between and select 'Recalculate" to exercise some control over what route it chooses. So, just like a car GPS, the auto-guidance isn't perfect, but it's a heckula lot easier than entering a whole page of latitudes and longitudes as waypoints! So, just remember this: The device itself has the auto-guidance software, and the SD card has the more detailed maps for the auto-guidance...the same G2 Vision card will work with the old or new auto-guidance software, but you have to have both the device that supports it and the card that supports it for auto-guidance to show up on a menu.

          Now...there is a piece of Celphone and Tablet software called Navionics that will also do auto-routing. (The free version won't do it, but you can do a 30-day or so trial of the $3.99 paid version that will do the auto-routing.) It works very similar to Garmin's auto-guidance, except you generally click the start waypoint, click the end waypoint, then tell it to auto-route. I haven't used it much, but it seems to work almost as good as Garmin's auto-guidance (and costs a helluva lot less...IIRC, the G2 Vision card is about $200, on top of the cost of the chartplotter). Here's why I'm telling you this: As I understand it, a few models of Lowrance, Raymarine, Hummingbird, and maybe a few other chartplotters actually use a version of the Navionics software for the chartplotting, and will also do the auto-routing. So, check which makers (I believe the Navionics site lists which chartplotter mfg's use their software), then double-check the models on each mfg's site. Since the celphone/tablet software is pretty cheap, you might want to do that 30-day trial and play with it a bit, so you get an idea of how this tends to work.

          It's a little bewildering at first, but all of these initially draw a straight line between the start and end waypoints (which may show you going over land!)...run the auto-guidance/auto-routing and it'll re-draw the course thru water...LOL. You generally give it boat draft and vertical clearance, and it won't route you under a bridge that's too low or water that is too shallow (for instance). However...just like a car GPS, the auto-route is only as good as the chart/map, and the real waterways change daily...so don't follow an auto-route blindly. I always say this: if the paper charts, GPS, and markers don't agree...believe the markers you see with your own eyes first, believe the GPS second, and believe the paper charts third (unless they are more up-to-date than the GPS charts).

          For a little under $1K, you should be able to find something you'll like. The Garmin EchoMaps tend to be a little cheaper than the Garmin GPSMaps (the GPSMap line is a little more navigation comprehensive, with touch screen, radar inputs, network connections, etc.) for the same size, and the EchoMaps seem to be a little more fishing oriented...but both lines have the charts, auto-routing with the add-on SD card, and I believe both will do the fancy side-vue/down-vue/etc sonar transducers. That said, I can't tell you too much about fish-finding features because I'm not really a fisherman...although I did manage to catch a cute mermaid a few years ago.

          Hope this helps!

          Cheers,

          Dave

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            #6
            "Chapman" post=807117 wrote:
            Hey guys, this is going to sound stupid but I'm looking to buy a new chartplotter and I'd really like it to be more like a cars gps where as it would highlight the best route for me. Where I'm at the channels are very confusing. There's so many buoys it's difficult to be sure I'm in the channel a lot of the time. The chartplotter I have now is ten years old and while it's serviceable, it leaves much to be desired. Do the newer plotters all have this feature ? I'd spend some extra cash to have it so if it's an extra bell and whistle that's fine. We pretty much cruise around and hit up restaurants and do some fishing too so a sonar/fish finder is also something I'm looking for.
            I have a Garmin 741xs, and it does all that and more. Mine is touch-screen too, so I place my waypoints with my finger, then select Navigate,and save it if I want. It is also bluetooth to my iPhone, so I can do my planning from anywhere through the Garmin app. I can even add the restaurant programming, though my iPhone works much better for that.
            "B on D C", is a 1989 2459 Trophy Offshore HT, OMC 5.7L, Cobra OD, Yamaha 15hp kicker. Lots of toys! I'm no mechanic, just a blue water sailer and woodworker who loves deep sea fishing.
            MMSI: 367637220
            HAM: KE7TTR
            TDI tech diver
            BoD Puget Sound Anglers North Olympic Peninsula Chapter
            Kevin

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              #7
              Ah...here's a video demonstrating the Garmin Auto-Guidance version 2 (with LakeVu charts instead of G2 Bluecharts), which allows you to make manual adjustments to the route created by Auto-Guidance. (You can also save and name this route once you've got it adjusted how you want it.) My old Garmin GPSMap 441s had the version 1 Auto-Guidance software that does not allow adjustments, but the Garmin EchoMap 94sv that I just picked up (at a good price refurbished) actually has the Auto-Guidance version 2 software that does allow adjustments to the Auto-Guidance route. Here ya go:

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CTRrTKeVCU

              And again, the Navionics software (and other non-Garmin devices that use the Navionics software and charts, and explicitly SAY they support the auto-routing) will allow you to do similar stuff. It's quite a bit of stuff to learn about, but have fun with it!

              Cheers,

              Dave

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                #8
                Buy the biggest display you can afford and have room to mount at the helm. Lots of touch screens out there now and I hear that for the most part they are easier to learn how to use. My neighbor has a Raymarine unit that shows marinas (some with aerial photos. It shows where there are boat yards, restaurants, etc.

                His is a model just before the touch screen, he places the cursor on an object presses the button and all that info pops up. Point is as others have commented find dealers where you can demo the unit you are interested in. See what [i]you[i] like.
                Newport, Oregon
                South Beach Marina
                1986 3270 with twin 110 HP Hino diesels. Name of boat "Mr. Darcy"
                Past work history: Prototyping, tooling, and repair for Reinell,. General fiberglass boat repair starting in 1976.
                Also worked as heavy equipment mechanic, and machinery mechanic for over 30 years.

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                  #9
                  "Mr. Darcy" post=807156 wrote:
                  Buy the biggest display you can afford and have room to mount at the helm.
                  Depends on your boat. Larger chartplotters and fishfinders are expensive because they're designed to be viewable in sunlight. They need a powerful backlight, an LCD which can withstand the higher temperatures, and enough passive cooling out the back. They're also designed to be waterproof.

                  All of which is unnecessary if you're mounting on the interior helm of a cabin cruiser. If that's where you're going to operate it (or if you have dual helms), Raymarine, Navico (Lowrance, Simrad, and B&G), and Garmin all have models with WiFi and Android/iOS apps (iOS-only for Garmin) which let you use a tablet or phone to mirror the main unit's display. So you could mount a smaller display in the outdoor upper helm, then connect a large tablet to it via WiFi and use that for the indoor lower helm. Just be sure to research the chartplotter model has this capability if you want it.

                  The tablet is a good idea anyway as a backup - make sure to buy one which has a built-in GPS and load Navionics or some other chartplotter app onto it. You can use it to mirror your main chartplotter, but if that ever fails you can switch over to the other chartplotter app and use your tablet as a chartplotter. Probably a good idea to load it onto your phone as well (just be sure not to leave it running when not needed - I've noticed it's pretty hard on battery life).
                  1994 2556, 350 MAG MPI Horizon, Bravo 2

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                    #10
                    Great info everybody. Now I know what I'm looking for so thanks to all of you.

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                      #11
                      On screen size...I started to find that the small 4" Garmin 441s was getting hard for these presbiopic eyes to see without constantly zooming in/out. The 7"-9" models seem to be a big improvement AND a decent price-point...that's around 4X the screen real-estate, and at that size you can do a combination screen on the Garmin's...I've got two views of the chart side-by-side on the Garmin EchoMap 94sv, one zoomed-in so I can easily see marker numbers, and the other zoomed-out so I can see at a glance how far along we are. I'll keep the Garmin 441s around as the backup unit in case the 94sv fails. For the Garmin's, you can often find them at about half price as a refurbished unit...there are 74sv's, 94sv's, 741's, and 941's out there, check Ebay/etc. The 94sv doesn't have a radar input, but it does the chartplotting just like the same size GPSMap models (and has all the sonar transducer options).

                      I have an old (1989) Furuno radar (with big green-screen display...a cathode-ray tube the size of a small TV!)...it still works, so I can't justify throwing it away. However, I do know that at some point it will no longer have a pulse (pun intended :P ) . At that point, I'll shift things a bit and probably acquire a Garmin GPSMap 942 or 941, plus a Garmin solid-state radar...the GPSMap models have input for Garmin radar's. At that point, the 94sv will probably become the backup, and the old 441 will probably get moved to my small 15' center console boat (or something along those lines...I'll figure it all out when the time comes). The 94sv has a bracket that makes it really easy to move, so I could easily pick up a 2nd bracket and mount that at the downstairs helm station. However, I have yet to actually use the downstairs helm station in my 38xx...if the weather is so bad that I really need to be inside, I'm not planning to go anywhere by water. That could possibly change over the years though, so I guess we'll see.

                      Anyway, my point is that I think the 7-9" displays are typically a pretty good price point for what you get...4-5" is too small (for me, at least)...12" or so is really nice but crazy expensive...around 7-9" just seems to be the sweet spot in size vs price, and I favor bigger screen over smaller unless there's some valid reason not to!

                      Dave

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                        #12
                        Ok I just bought the raymarine dragonfly 7 pro. It was 400 bucks and came with navionics plus for free. I downloaded navionics on my iPad before I bought it to play with the interface and its really nice. One drawback is that it isn't touchscreen which I'm not thrilled about. I was very close to buying the simrad go7 but after buying it and the navionics plus chip it would've been around $950. Save $550 and lose touchscreen ? I'm fine with that.

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                          #13
                          Awesome...congrats! Sounds like a really good new price for a 7" chartplotter (IIRC, I paid around $500 for the Garmin 441s years ago, plus $200 for the G2 Vision card)...Raymarine must be trying to undercut Garmin's pricing (which is good, let the competition drive some of their prices down and keep them working on better features!) I assume with the Navionics Plus that you got the auto-routing feature you were looking for, correct?

                          And I agree...touchscreen is nice, but it's not a must-have...and ya know, sunscreen-coated hands leave goop on the screen, which you obviously can't clean while it's on and in use. I made a similar choice by getting the Garmin EchoMap 94sv instead of the Garmin GPSMap 941 or 942, and mainly for the same reasons.

                          Cheers,

                          Dave

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                            #14
                            I also have dragonfly 7 pro w Navionics, I prefer to use my iPad because of the touch screen and larger display. As noted previously, iPad is mounted at the lower helm station.
                            Dave
                            Edmonds, WA
                            "THE FIX"
                            '93 2556
                            Carbureted 383 Vortec-Bravo II 2.0:1 18 1/4x19 P

                            The rebuild of my 2556 https://www.baylinerownersclub.org/f...76?view=thread
                            Misc. projects thread
                            https://www.baylinerownersclub.org/f...56-gctid789773

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                              #15
                              I think I got really lucky on Amazon with the price. Everywhere else on the web is at least $550 and now Amazon says they don't have anymore. Really good timing. And yes, it has the routing feature too.

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